February 2, 2012

Latest Donations Push New Playground Project Into Phase II

Elementary School Principal Rhonda McBee (center) receives donations for the school's new playground from PTO officer Melissa Anders and Xi Theta Tau member Oleva Riney.

While Mother Nature offered a beautiful escape from winter on Monday, it wasn't quite big enough of a window for the start of a construction project at Scotland County R-I Elementary School.

According to the district administration, weather is the only thing holding back the implementation of Phase 1 of the new playground at the elementary school.

Several recent contributions, capped off by a donation from the Epsilon Iota Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, helped boost the fundraiser past its initial target.

"We are currently at $14,232," said Principal Rhonda McBee. "We are just waiting on weather, because we have the money to complete most of Phase I."

The three-stage project ultimately will create a new playground for students in kindergarten, first and second grade, to be located at the west of the elementary school, between the high school and the elementary school.

Not only will the new playground ensure a safe and healthy play environment for the children, but it will also benefit the building, as the younger students, who are located in the west end of the building, will no longer have to travel the full length of the facility for recess times.

Phase I will include the site preparation and dirt work for the entire project and concrete work for a circular walking path and tricycle course to surround the playgrounds.

The estimated cost for Phase 1 is $16,713, which represents roughly half of the projected $34,000 price tag for the entire project.

The bulk of the money has been raised through a number of school projects like the 2011 spring play-a-thon, cookbook sales, a Feco Seed sales fundraiser, and Boxtop collections. Grants have been received from the Pamida Foundation, Wal-Mart and the Missouri Foundation for Health. Donations have also been received from the local Beta sororities as well as the Scotland County PTO.

The later is leading the charge to generate future funds. The PTO will be hosting an elementary basketball tournament February 25th with proceeds earmarked for the playground fund. The group also is hosting meals at the SCR-I varsity basketball games and are actively pursuing business partners in the community.

"The elementary school continues to have cookbooks for sale and we are going to begin our Spring Seed Sales soon," said McBee. "We would also like to have our Spring Play-a-Thon again during the Elementary Track Meet. It was very successful last year."

Once weather allows, the concrete walking path will be formed and poured with an eye toward Phase II, ordering and placement of the actual playground equipment.

"We are hoping to have a person from the company who is certified oversee the setting of the equipment along with volunteer help to keep project costs down," McBee stated.

The principal praised the efforts of the PTO and all the other community members who have made the project possible.

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